It would be impossible to summarise 25 years in a few short words! However, what I can say about running The Blues Train for 25 years is, it’s a bit like our lives, it’s been full of laughter, fun, music and a lot of love of trains.
I guess it’s a predictable thing to say, but never would we have dreamed that we would still be here after all these years running The Blues Train, but I guess that hindsight always has 20/20 vision! So of course, here we are looking back at hundreds of shows, thousands of patrons and hundreds of musicians plus many thousands of kilometers traveled up and down the Bellarine railway.
A big part for us has been the friendships that have been made, whether it’s with work colleagues, musicians, sponsors, volunteers and most of all our patrons. We’ve met some great people and ended up sharing incredible special times. Naturally we’ve had people come out on dates and end up proposing on the train, we also ran a couple of weddings from people who met on the train. We’ve had a couple of breakdowns and even a level crossing accident and everybody kept having a great time singing and dancing.
For me personally I’ve had the joy of becoming a Dad in that time and I love bringing my daughter down to the railway. Helping putting stickers on buckets and putting ice on the drinks at the beginning of the night before everyone arrives for a little bit of pocket money from Dad has been a regular on our calendar for while.
Also, we’ve had some amazing parties ourselves including birthday parties for myself, for my wife and many of our amazing friends have had very significant parties on the train, where we’ve been lucky enough to be invited and be part of the entertainment experience as guests.
Of course, there’s so many people behind the scenes, the amazing staff I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the office and of course on the train but also all the suppliers and people that have helped in the good times and the bad times. This is a business that has been through global financial crisis and the insurance crisis of 9/11.
A lot of people do ask what keeps me going after 25 years and the answer is actually pretty simple – it’s the enjoyment the show brings people and also I love that people often discover blues music for the first time through The Blues Train and then we see them at music festivals and coming back time and time again to visit the show.
It’s been a privilege to be part of such an amazing experience and although it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, there’s been plenty of tough times, lots of tears and heartaches, but there’s also been an incredible joy and adulation, with love, laughter and dancing and I very much look forward the future of The Blues Train. A huge thanks to everyone and lots of love from Hugo and everyone involved since 1994.